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China Is Building a $9 Billion Rival to the American-Run GPS

  • Beidou navigation system to provide global coverage by 2020
  • Smartphones, cars, planes made in China have to be compatible
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China is taking its rivalry with the U.S. to the heavens, spending at least $9 billion to build a celestial navigation system and cut its dependence on the American-owned GPS amid heightening tensions between the two countries.

Location data beamed from GPS satellites are used by smartphones, car navigation systems, the microchip in your dog’s neck and guided missiles -- and all those satellites are controlled by the U.S. Air Force. That makes the Chinese government uncomfortable, so it’s developing an alternative that a U.S. security analyst calls one of the largest space programs the country has undertaken.